Libya supreme Court lifts ban on anti-Gadaffi praises in country

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Thomas Sankara
:“While revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas!”

Libya’s Supreme Court has banned a law attempting to sweep under the carpet the good image of slain former leader, Muammar Gadaffi and his achievement as a good leader.

A law had earlier been passed that criminalizes the  praising of late leader Muammar Gaddafi and his regime.

However, following an outrage among civil groups and legal experts describing it as undemocratic, the law has been lifted.

On Thursday, court head Judge Kamal Bashir Dahan ruled on the new law, passed in May.

Reuters reports: “In the name of the people, the court has decided to accept the appeal of Law 37 of 2012 as it is unconstitutional,” he said in a brief hearing.

Under that law, passed by the National Transitional Council, praising or glorifying the ousted Colonel Gaddafi was punishable by a prison sentence ranging from three to 15 years. The law also criminalized spreading good news about the former leader or any news or information that is “harming to the February 17 revolution.”

The Supreme Court agreed to review Law 37 after lawyer Saleh al-Marghani appealed it, saying it violated freedom of expression.

This law is unconstitutional as it prevents freedom of speech. We are nearing elections and a basic step is to ensure there is freedom of speech,” he said.

Democracy seems to be trailing in post-Gaddafi Libya, where those who toppled the strongman’s regime have appeared to deploy the same repressive tactics against their opponents.